A teacher is one who makes himself progressively unnecessary. ~Thomas Carruthers
How very true in the case of Doc Mass Communication, let’s call him DMC.
Back in 1981 – WordPress seems to lead me back in time often these days – I left the town where I grew up to head towards the ‘big’ city of Breda to study Sociological Recreational at the NHTV university.
Everything was new: living on my own, cooking, meeting other students, new relationship, but also the university. From the protected environment of high school to the open, unstructured way of teaching at the NHTV.
Our schedule offered lots of interesting courses, like programming, Dutch, English, French, psychology, recreation, sociology and mass communication. Used to the sing song dialect we spoke back home, all these new accents could be challenging. As I was to others.
Alright, let’s find out everything there is to know about mass communication. Entering the class room came DMC. Doc was tall, slender and talked fast. Very fast and non-stop. In fact he talked so fast with an accent I still wasn’t used to, that I had absolutely NO idea what he was talking about. For an hour I sat there, rolling my eyes and wondering what the message of his lesson was. It was something about a red thread.
But there was always the book, so I dived in to learn more about communication. The next lesson I was totally prepared for DMC. Bring it on! And he did. Another hour went by and sentences without meaning flowed through the room. I understood what he was saying, but he simply was not making sense. One minute he was on subject, the next he jumped to a complete new line of thinking, only to hop back to the first. And again something about a red thread.
Third class there was… snow. Lots of snow. Mountains of snow. And a forest nearby. My friend Suzan and me arrived at school to absorb more masses of communication. We walked towards the class room and sat down. Looked outside. Looked at each other. And got the hell out of there! That was the first of many many long walks and talks and Suzan and I became best friends.
I haven’t been back to DMC’s lessons, not once. In stead I studied the book and flunked the exam. Second try was a hit: I passed. He probably knew very much about this wonderful subject mass communication, but he was the worst teacher I’ve ever had. Or perhaps the best, since his abracadabra taught me self study, plus gave us a wonderful friendship!